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ISRI launches online tool to check recyclability of fibre-based packaging

A stack of pizza boxes
Fibre-based packaging recycling recovers fibre used to manufacture other paper products while producing jobs and protecting the environment. Pixabay

ISRI has launched a new tool to help recycle more packaging in the United States. The new Fiber Recycling Readiness Tool is a research-based online resource developed by ISRI that assesses the compatibility of typical consumer fibre-based packaging in the U.S. residential recycling system. As one of the most widely recycled materials in the world, fibre-based packaging recycling recovers fibre used to manufacture other paper products while producing jobs and protecting the environment.

"Retail shelves across the country are filled with a growing number of fibre-based packaging like paper, paperboard, and corrugated boxes. ISRI's new tool will provide brands, packaging developers, and other stakeholders with clear guidance on whether their packaging will successfully pass through the current recycling infrastructure," said ISRI President Robin Wiener. "This tool is a great advancement for the recycled materials industry."

The tool is based on industry expert knowledge, including a comprehensive ISRI-commissioned Moore & Associates study on the current material recovery facility (MRF) and paper mill infrastructure across the United States. Currently, many brands test package recyclability by running tests at MRFs and universities specializing in fibre recycling. This tool represents a major advancement in that it captures the package design, processing, and end use in one resource.

"This is an exciting time for the fibre industry. This tool can help brands use Design for Recycling principles for creating fibre-based packaging that can flow through the current recycling infrastructure. This can decrease contamination at the MRF and increase the quality of the bale being sent to the consuming mills," said Leonard Zeid, chair of the ISRI Fiber Recycling Readiness Tool and also executive vice president of brokerage and marketing at Midland Davis Corp. "I want to thank our ISRI members and staff and the ISRI Brands Leadership Council that participated in creating this valuable recycling resource. "

The online resource automatically scores each criterion and shares a simple, colour-coded result that will determine whether the packaging meets the criteria (green), has challenges that require modifications (yellow), or does not meet the criteria (red). The tool also provides individualized feedback on design choices that could improve the package's recyclability.

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